Football player shoots for hoops scholarship

Photo by Christina Santucci
By Joseph Staszewski

Joshua Wallace put football on hold for basketball after a stellar sophomore season on the gridiron at Holy Cross, but the sport hasn’t given up on him.

The former defensive back still gets letters from colleges interested in giving him a scholarship and gauging his interest. He said one day he was given a handful of letters from Missouri.

“It’s ridiculous,” Wallace said. “I think they are trying to make me play again or show that they are definitely interested.”

The 6-foot-3 rising senior played football since he was a kid and his brother Darryl Whiting was a star running back with the Knights and Fordham University. Wallace, who had 90 tackles and six interceptions as a sophomore on the varsity, said he stopped playing football because he enjoyed hoops more, its atmosphere and being indoors. Wallace, 16, hasn’t ruled out an eventual return to the gridiron for college if a basketball scholarship doesn’t pan out.

“I feel like I can always come back to football later on,” Wallace said.

For now he is concentrating on becoming a better basketball player and is learning the road to a hoops scholarship is not an easy one. Wallace has had a number of Division I schools, from UConn and Miami to Siena and Quinnipiac, watch him play over the last year, but has not garnered an offer yet.

Wallace is willing to wait.

“I’m not frustrated,” he said. “If a school is really interested and they really like me like they say we do, they will do what they have to do.”

Wallace is doing his part with The Rens travel ball team this summer. He has worked to expand his offensive game by improving his jumper and looking to attack the basket more. Wallace usually plays with a pass-first mentality. Lloyd Desvigne, his Rens coach and a Holy Cross assistant, believes Wallace will shine during his senior season.

“During the school year when he plays the point and does the job he is supposed to do, he will be much more of a hot commodity for a big school,” Desvigne said. “He will be a big, tough, athletic and physical point guard who can guard anybody on the floor.”

Defense is where Wallace’s football background helps the most. His strength and stamina allow him to give 100 percent on both ends of the floor and rarely tire. It also makes him a best to opponent’s top scorer.

“He is right on the cusp of being a really good player.” Desvigne said.

Wallace is expecting a strong year for the Knights under second-year Coach Tom Marchesini and alongside star junior guard Jermaine Bishop. He and his teammates will be more comfortable in Marchesini’s system.

“It’s definitely going to be a better year for us,” Wallace said. “I know that.”

The rest of his sports future is still uncertain.

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